Friday, June 27, 2008

Newborn Sleep Schedule Part V, four months old

Owen is now 17 weeks and will be 4 months on July 1. His sleep has developed so well over the last four months. He is down to two night wakings and two long day naps and one shorter early evening nap. He sleeps a total of 4-5 hours over 3 naps during the day and 11 hours with two interruptions at night. We settled on a bedtime of 8:00 or 8:30 for him because if we go later, he gets REAL cranky no matter how much sleep he's had. He wakes up at around midnight and also 3AM-4AM. We are trying to cut out one of those awakenings by not nursing him but comforting him other ways. He doesn't eat that much at one or the other feeding so I know he's not that hungry. If I do two feedings then he's not hungry when he wakes up... so we're gently trying to shape his night sleep... keep reading

Things that have worked really well for us thus far:
1) a routine: I give him a massage (simple one) every night around the same time and then Dad gets into the bath with him (we have this huge garden tub so it's hard to use the baby bath unit) and plays. When he started using his hands to grab things (last 2 weeks) we put some ducks in the bath and it's really fun.
2) I nurse him before bed to make sure he's got a full belly and try to unlatch him before he's snoozing too hard. If he falls asleep I don't worry about it too much because he puts himself to sleep during the day all the time, so I know he's got that skill filed.
3) the sleep sheep by Cloud 9 or the sound machine. Sleep sheep goes off after 45 minutes which is good and Owen doesn't wake up when it goes off so it's not a sleep crutch. The sound machine stays on all night with some white noise but much softer than it was when he was younger. We live downtown so it can be a tad noisy with the train and dogs, people, music, etc.
4) protect his daytime sleep. I do whatever necessary to allow him AT LEAST 4 hours of daytime CRIB non-motion sleep each day. I put him down about 2 hours after he wakes up every morning and he goes down really easy, if I wait too long it can be a struggle.
5) keeping his bedtime consistent within 30 minutes.
We are hoping to get more serious about dropping one more feeding/awakening at night. The suggestions in the Sleep Lady book are REALLY helpful.

It's hard to find sample infant sleep schedules anywhere and the hardest thing for me was to figure out daytime sleep. Sleep Lady says babies don't have predictable daytime sleep until 4-5 months so just roll with it on a daily basis...

I have NOT opted for a strict Babywise schedule and I don't do a strict attachment parenting style either. I'm somewhere in the middle. He doesn't sleep with us at all anymore (since about 8-9 weeks) and takes all his naps in his crib and *GASP* he occasionally falls asleep in his car seat!! So, I do let him cry it out (he hardly EVER has to do this now) when if I know he needs sleep based on time, behavior, etc. Pretty soon I'm hoping a regular nap schedule will surface. It will be nice to have a predictable nap... until then our day looks something like this

7AM awake / nurse
9-9:30AM 1st nap, can last as long as 3 hours but usually more like 90 minutes
11:30AM-12:30 (depends on his 1st nap) playtime, walk, talk, play
1:30-2PM 2nd nap (usually he's up for 3 hours before 2nd nap)
3:30 playtime -- go out for a walk
5:00-5:30 3rd nap, can be as short as 30 minute or as long as an hour
7:30 bedtime routine
8:-8:30 Sleeps
12AM nurse 20 minutes
3-4AM nurse 20 minutes
7AM awake

When we've dropped the 3-4AM feeding --just this past week-- (he wakes up, I don't feed him) he cries and we get him back to sleep. I try to get him to make the stretch until at least 6AM. The first night we did this he cried on and off for an hour with me comforting him but not nursing... now he's doing better. I think he's adapting and eating more at night and in the morning. We are going to try this for 2 weeks straight and be consistent and see what happens...

The best thing is that he can go down during the day drowsy but awake at each nap and put himself to sleep, especially if you hit the magical sleep window. You can also pat his little butt back to sleep if he wakes up early from a nap or at night. Tonight we cut the routine out because we went to a party, but put him down around 8:30 still and he is sleeping great. I believe in being flexible when your schedule has been interrupted or else you end up a slave to your child's schedule; however, it's nice to have a routine to bounce back to for yours and your baby's sanity :)

I still have not slept more than 5 hours straight since March 1. I am just crossing my fingers each night that this is the night he sleeps 8 hours. I know he can do it :)

Camping in Hart Prairie | Flagstaff, AZ

erin-kate and owen

los tres vans

approximately 6AM

I know this looks fake, but it's real

It seems a tradition that each year we go out to the spot where we got married here in Flagstaff at Hart Prairie and camp out. This year we brought out the vans. D.Kish brought her gimpy arm (went boom boom on a climbing photo shoot), Gomez and Erin-Kate brought their Westy (hello envious) and we brought the red stripe (our van). Have I mentioned that Matt is OBSESSED with the site? He has given up his sports car addition (on ebay) and traded it for VW vanagon obsession. If Go Westy got a dime for every click Matt clicks on that site, they'd be LOADED. Keep in mind an average GoWesty Vanagon costs like $35,000. Yes, I know. I know.

Anyway, Owen was chillin' in his bear costume coupled with a cute hat that our friend Anne made for him. We hope Anne will make him another one as he outgrows this one and maybe a matching one for Mommy.

We used the Graco pack n' play on the first floor of the van and Owen slept well. We draped the pack n' play with blankets so it would stay warmer for the little dude. It's fun and Owen loves the scenery outdoors.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Owen Laughs Video

Owen is laughing a lot now and it's really cute, of course, I think everything he does is cute. He's a pretty happy little guy, especially when he gets his 4-5 hours of daytime naps and 10-11 hours of night time sleep. He gets that most days. A sleep update is coming soon. We are working on the night waking -- trying to get him to wake one time instead of two.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Owen in Studio with Aïda

cuteness abound... that is Owen wearing his vanilla gDiaper and Mom in black. Mom wears a lot of black lately. This was a photo shoot at the studio of KDI, on May 10 (10 weeks old) but with an apprentice shooting, Aïda Photography. Some really cute shots. Thanks Aïda!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baby Bike Trailer and car seat: Chariot vs. Burley

Owen is 16 weeks (3.5 months) and so alert and happy! We got a Burley bike trailer (it also becomes a ski trailer and baby jogger) a little premature, but we are so excited to get on the bikes, we couldn't help ourselves. We picked Burley over the Chariot trailer because we could buy locally from Bike Trailer --located in Flagstaff, not to mention Chariot is a serious investment. Chariot is having a busy season and are tough to get a hold of. Burley just added the "We Ski Kit" which will allow us to cross country ski with Owen (Mom will pull on flats) which is initally why we wanted the Chariot, which boasts a ski adapter as well.

We don't plan on toting Owen on roads, or bumpy trails (yet) but Flagstaff has some really nice paved Urban trails that will be fun to ride on. Owen has extremely great head control (benefit to sleeping on belly) and loves to get outdoors (ah a child after my own heart). We have considered putting his car seat into the baby trailer and securing it down but haven't figured that out, until then, we are using the Burley snuggly which holds him in there quite nicely. Bike trailers have a "universal joint" so you can lay the bike down or crash yourself without the trailer flipping. Now, I'm sure you can flip a baby bike trailer if you are going fast and furious and hit a curb or something but we'll save that for our mountain bike rides without the dude or the trailer. Right now, it's just fun to transport the dude short distances on back roads powered by Mom, who can stand to lose about 5-10 more pounds. With gas prices on their way up, we are proud to be cyclists and will have a lot of fun in the coming years living in a small town that supports our decision to commute by bicycle. We hope to teach our child the value of alternative transportation when he's old enough to understand AND we cross our fingers that Owen will love biking as much as we do!
the dude would crawl if he could figure out the legs thing...
the dude asleep in the trailer

Mom pulling the rig...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summer Swimming lessons for infants and toddlers

Tuesday I gave a talk at the local MOM's club here in Flagstaff (MOM's club is for stay-at-home Mom's to have playgroups, support and other fun activities throughout the year). I am a Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor and have taught many of 3-4 year olds to swim in private lessons. I also used to coach a neighborhood summer swim team way back in high school and college. I am confidant that I can teach any adult or child to swim, no matter how scared they are of the water. Swimming is really the ONLY thing I really know about kids. So here are Coach Cameron's tips:

First (and this is obvious) NEVER EVER take your mind, eyes or hands off your child in a swimming pool (or bath for that matter) If an infant submerges (or falls into the pool) by mistake, jump in and pull them out. Do it even if you are fully clothes. I've done it plenty of times as a guard, it's more traumatic for the adult. That having been said... your child is safest in the water with you by their side...

1) Get the the pool with your kids. I can't stress this enough. Sending them to swim lessons isn't going to the trick. If you want your kids to swim, take them to the pool, pull that bathing suit on and get wet. Often, you CAN get wet without getting your hair wet, but Mom & Dad it's way COOLER if you swim underwater.
2) If your 3 year old is doing great this summer, make sure to keep his skills up during the winter months too-- I've seen plenty of 4 year olds who "loved it last summer" but are completely afraid to put their face in the next year, so don't forget to go to the indoor pool in the winter -- young kids only last 30 minutes in the pool anyway.
3) make bath time fun and pour water on your baby's head at LEAST once each bath, starting at 2-3 months old (we do this when the water doesn't have soap, eliminating the whole irritated eye issue). Start showering with them if possible, when you feel they are ready.
4) Introduce your child to all parts of the pool, walking them around the perimeter and identifying the pool parts, which parts are off-limits and what each *thing* does... ie: "this is the pool drain, where the pool sucks up leaves, etc... this is the lifeguard chair...etc."
5) When you go to the pool, focus on playtime, don't make the entire trip about swim skills. Attempt 2-3 skills each time you go to the pool and play a game between each skill. Never attempt to teach a 3-4 year old anything for more than a couple of minutes... Ex: a 30 minute pool visit should include 15 minutes of playtime. If you can make it "educational" playtime without them knowing, do it. If they last longer, consider yourself lucky.

1)prone glide: hold them side to side position and help them to the edge, hold them under their belly and help them glide to you, hold them side to side and pass them to Dad)
2) back float: start with them floating on your shoulder gradually move to holding their back and shoulders and finally just a palm under their back. With a four year old, you can TELL THEM that you are going to remove your hand for the count of "one-one thousand" or make it "one teenage mutant ninja turtle" -- then work up to two, etc. If they crunch up and don't allow it, keep your hand there until they are ready.
3) pool side jumps (assisted): Start seated with 2 hands, move to 1 hand, then standing with 2 hands, transition to 1 hand and then no hands. Child should submerge in this skill but only to their comfort, ie: quickly bring them up, and PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. If the water is in their eyes and they are crying, simply DISTRACT them and say "nod, nod, nod, shake shake, blink blink, water's gone" and MOVE on. DO NOT fuss over the water in their eyes and bring out a towel to wipe it away. They have to learn at some point that water will eventually roll off their face without a towel.
4) scoop: point nose and forehead down towards water and scoop the child under a bit...good to do with a partner. Again, PRAISE PRAISE.
5) blowing bubbles out our mouth and eventually nose...without sucking the pool down... I blow out birthday candles with noses! Hold fingers up above water to make birthday candles... then lower under little noses are underwater. Remind them EACH time not to INHALE or sniff up the water. Also to get little faces in the water, I have them put their ear in to listen to the mermaids (who sing in all my pools).
6) underwater retrieval. Throw sticks and if possible quarters or pennies (harder to pick up and therefore requires more skill) on the stairs and start on the first step and work your way lower and lower.

In my swim instructor opinion, these things hinder more then help your child swim
1) swimmies (arm floaties) I HATE them. They keep your toddler's feet under them and show them how NOT to kick for swimming. The bicycle kick is something you want to avoid like the plague. Get that child in a prone position, even if they lift their face out of the water all day long.
2) Make a huge deal about how unsafe the deep end is or how they could drown... in fact, leave out the drowning all together. Tell them they can only get in the pool if holding mommy's or daddy's hand. Discipline if they do otherwise calmly and normally, remind them that they need your hand to enter the water.
3) Do not SCREAM around the pool unless a DIRE EMERGENCY ARISES and you require the assistance of a lifeguard. Nothing will make a child more scared then a parent screeching from their lounge chair. If your child cannot follow your calm simple guideline, re-visit your discipline methods.
3) DO NOT only allow them to play in the kiddie pool. This makes the big pool scarier! Get in that big pool WITH THEM and bring toys if necessary.

Remember to make it fun! Play games, and smile a lot. Don't expect too much until age 3 or 4. I have seen some really coordinated 3 year-olds swim but 4 is the big year. If your child is afraid of putting their face in at age 3, 4 or 5 -- GET HELP-- private swim lessons with a friendly instructor will help and be committed to those lessons! Consider it your duty to teach your child to swim, it should be a "must have" like potty training. Sometimes it's best to learn from an instructor. Some kids cannot learn from their parents, but it's a skill they need for survival. Expect to pay $15-50 per lesson with a private instructor and attend lessons twice a week, for at least 6 lessons.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Owen and more Grandparents: Grammie & Pop

Matt's Dad, Bob and his wife Vicki (Pop & Grammie) were here for a week last week. They showered Owen with lots of love and kisses. Owen had a surprise visit from Aunt Susan and cousin Brody. Brody was especially fond of his cousin and kept talking about that while he was visiting. Kaibee didn't know what to make of a 3 year old in her house, but she thought she'd better scarf down her food just in case. On a Kaibee/Owen note, she is licking the drool off Owen and Owen seems to be quite intrigued by the doggie. They will be pals for sure. I have a feeling that "dog" could be his first word, if it isn't his name... ie: 'OHHHHHwen". For all you grandparents out there: please send me a photo request order by Tuesday. I'm placing a personal photo order of Owen photos and just need the image described to me. Perhaps give me the blog posting date and the size you want. I am also burning a DVD of all the little snapshot videos I've taken of the little guy, so that will come to you in the mail soon.